At exactly 12:12 local time in the city of Banjul, the out-gone Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Lieutenant General Masanneh N Kinteh arrived at the Defence Headquarters grounds. Buglers of the Gambia Armed Forces Band and Drum blared a general salute in a splendid quarter guard mounted by the Guards Battalion.
The ceremony graduated to a half guard of honour comprising the tri-services of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF). Amidst the mix of events was the arrival in columns of various cadres of dignitaries. These include the former Chief of Staff Brigadier General Babucarr Jatta and the former Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General Langtombong Tamba. Others include the Inspector General of the Gambia Police Force and Director General of the State Intelligence Service. Scores of representatives of various other institutions also graced the occasion while adding to the flavor of the ceremony.
Soon both Generals MN Kinteh and YA Drammeh made their appearance together and the ceremony was opened by prayers in Islam and Christian ways followed by an inspection of the parade by the out-gone CDS.
The event quickly ushered in presentation of gifts amongst which a portrait of General Kinteh made a special sight as the general saw the painting of his image so beautifully done by a young Gambian artist.
Colonel Alagie Sanneh the Director of Peacekeeping Operations delivered a touching vote of thanks, which was preceded by a citation of the curriculum vitae of General MN Kinteh.
The out-gone CDS General MN Kinteh, gave a touching farewell speech in which he highlighted the achievements of the GAF under his leadership while thanking the entire Armed Forces for the support accorded him. This was followed by signing of handing/taking-over note and the handing –over of the Baton of Command to the new CDS.
In his remarks the in-coming CDS Major General Yakuba A Drammeh, thanked the outgone CDS for the cordial working relationship and his leadership style. He thanked the President and Commander – In – Chief for the trust reposed on him while assuring his fellow service chiefs and the entire Armed Forces of upholding a regimental and professional Armed Forces that is subservient to civil authority.
A symbolic handing over of GAF Colours and a pull of vehicle occupied by the out-gone CDS by GAF officers to the Arch in Banjul marked the end of ceremony.
NOTE: Please check for more on photos and story in the next edition of the AHOOAH Magazine!